Thursday Born

The everyday life of a psychiatry resident (who was born on a Thursday).

Archive for October 2010

Fun with my new camera

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I’ve been experimenting with actually using the features my camera comes with, instead of just leaving it on one setting for all pictures.

Grilled cheese sandwich made of brie and homemade apple butter. Honeycrisp apple cider in the background. It was good, but sharper cheeses would be better. At least some good cheddar. Someday (possibly soon) I will re-create the Cosi sandwich my boyfriend Ahmet had the first time we interacted one on one, without others around. He had taken care of my rabbits over Thanksgiving break and I had just returned and no one else was really around, so after he gave me back my keys, we went to Cosi to eat, and he got this five cheese and marmalade toasted sandwich and it was delicious! I don’t even remember what I had. His was better.

Success! I just googled the sandwich and found a blog post that lists the five cheeses, so I’m good to go! Brie, provolone, cheddar, Swiss, and parmesan. It apparently has an insane amount of calories, but my version will likely be quite a bit more modest.

Eggo waffle (I was too lazy to make crepes, which are how I usually eat this combination) with hazelnut butter and fresh strawberries. Always a winning combination. Seriously. If you must, use nutella instead, but I prefer the pure hazelnut variation. Don’t get me wrong. I love nutella, but it’s a very strong flavor and I love it best on bread, by itself, like how I grew up eating it by mooching off my classmate’s lunches when I was six.

I wasn’t actually trying to turn my waffle in Pac Man, or the cut would have been deeper. Still, I looked at my plate and realized I had an almost pac man, so I took a picture, of course.

Random fire spinners I don’t know, at a drum circle. Fancier cameras can get even more amazing pictures of fire spinning. Still, neat though, right? I’ve been spinning a decent amount lately (but not recently, due to school) and realizing that not only do I have lots of techniques I want to learn, but I also need to work on style, because I don’t really have much of a style right now, and I could put on a decent performance even at my skill level if I just added a bit of a flare and some easy transition moves. Unfortunately, medical school kinda comes very far ahead of “looking cool while playing with fire.” Speaking of medical school, back to the kidneys!

Written by Aba

October 30, 2010 at 1:56 am

Re-considering (sort of) Research

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I have exams again on Monday. Starting with Pathology of the Heart, Kidneys and Lungs on Monday, Renal Pathophysiology on Tuesday, Nothing on Wednesday, then Cardiovascular Pathophysiology on Thursday and Pulmonary Pathophysiology on Friday.

However, despite the fact that us second years have exams next week, and that we were the majority of the students who did summer research, the Summer Research Poster symposium was yesterday.   I wasn’t looking forward to it, right from the putting the poster together to having to stand by it for an hour yesterday, but it turned out to be okay. Putting the poster together didn’t take too long, my summer research team approved of the first draft, and printing did not take an hour as I was told to expect. I also rather enjoyed chatting with my “faculty reviewer.” He was a neurologist whose first question to all of us was “What was the coolest thing about your experience this summer?” His questions made it clear that his main interest was to see if the summer research had inspired any of us to think about research as a career. I don’t think I’ve ever had someone so genuinely try to recruit me into research. It wasn’t all that hard of a sell, but I could tell that he really enjoyed research and that he really feels that there need to be more doctors taking more of an evidence based medicine approach to their practice and doing clinical research at least on the side, if not primarily.

I did really enjoy my experience over the summer. It was only six weeks, which isn’t long enough to really accomplish something, but it gave me a chance to see a much different lab environment from where I worked for a year before medical school. The lab was very friendly, and there were many different labs all working in the same office area, with a very open and warm collaborative environment.  It almost felt more like an office job than a research job, but I liked that aspect of it. Still, while I had a lot of fun pretending to be a programmer (and succeeding at programing!), it’s just not what I had in mind when I decided I wanted to be a doctor. There’s certainly nothing wrong with doing something different from what I expected, but if something’s going to change my path, I don’t think this is it.

And now back to studying. I really should have a better grasp at reading EKGs by now but I’m still fumbling in the dark a bit (a lot).

Written by Aba

October 28, 2010 at 3:21 pm

Even Women Doctors are still People Too

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About a week ago I went to a Women in Medicine lunch talk . There were five different women doctors on the panel, and the entire talk was question and answer format. Essentially all the questions had to do with marriage and having children (2 of the 5 did not have children; one could not, the other seems to want to but hasn’t started planning to yet), yet despite that, one of the main messages I got was simply that women doctors are people too, just like women are people, and doctors are people. Women Doctors are not some special grouping of human. Some of them enjoy four months of time off with their newborn babies and hesitate to go back to work. Some can’t wait to be back after just two weeks. Some are single mothers. Some are part-time doctors (one had a ~20hr/week contract). Some are part-time doctors but work full time, doing other things on the side (and not necessarily research, which was cool to see as an option. I really like the idea of doing public health and other community things). They are heads of their departments. They are married to doctors or to non-doctors.

Some of the other things they emphasized:

1) Don’t worry about finding a significant other. You will. It may take till you’re 35 (as in the case of one of the doctors) or older, but it will happen.

2) Think about how much time you actually want to spend with your children. It varies from person to person.

3) A nanny can be a wonderful thing.

4) Don’t pick your career (ie, specialty) based on lifestyle. You can make your life work with whatever you want. (I think this was a bit misleading though. I think the real thing is to know what makes you feel fulfilled and prioritize that, and if that thing comes along with a demanding career, you’ll make it work).

5) None of them really felt that they were discriminated against or had any specific hardships that were because they were women.

I’m always interested in learning what the life of an actual doctor looks like, woman or man, so I really enjoyed the talk even though I didn’t come away with any grand epiphanies or revelations about my future as a woman doctor. I think one of my favorite things to learn about was doing part-time work not just so that you can spend the rest of your time raising children, but so that you can do other non-doctoring things that you want to do.

And before you go, I just wanted to show off my delicious dinner from the other night, through a much better picture courtesy of the camera my parents bought me for my birthday. It’s the newest version of my previous camera, so it’s somewhat familiar, but has some nicely updated features, and all in all, I’m happy with it. :) The fish was a frozen tilapia fillet broiled in my toaster oven with a butter+mayo+olive oil+ parmesan +seasonings sauce. Not my usual way to cook fish, but I was wanting something cheesy since a few nights before I’d thought I was going to have pizza for dinner and I didn’t. This didn’t quite get rid of the craving, but it certainly was healthier.

Written by Aba

October 17, 2010 at 11:05 pm

Staying healthy

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Second year has been incredibly time consuming, and I’ve been cooking less often. There was recently a sale on sardines at Aldi’s ($0.79 a tin!) so sardines and crackers have been a rather frequent meal.  Still, now that I’ve been pretty reliably feeding myself for two years, I’m trying to focus more on eating a proper variety. I do eat pretty healthily, but there’s definitely a distinct daily lack of enough fruits and vegetables. While I’m not a big fan of frozen meals, largely because they get expensive really quickly, I am a big fan of frozen meal components. Above is frozen spinach + frozen broccoli, mixed with paremsean, mozzerella, olive oil, salt, black pepper, about a teaspoon of butter, and a tiny bit of garlic. The result? Absolutely delicious. And in the other bowl is Trader Joe’s gnocchi, which I think I added black pepper and maybe a bit of garlic to. The next day I repeated most of the steps, but no broccoli, and I mixed the two dishes together. Even better!

I even made Ratatouille two weeks ago, which was a great way to get in a nice variety of vegetables everyday. Although I’ve seen and loved the pixar movie of the same name, I was still a little unsure exactly what Ratatouille is. In short, it’s a variety of vegetables, cooked individually, and then simmered slowly together. Seasoning is surprisingly minimal, given how flavorful it turns out; just  some salt, some olive oil, a bay leaf, garlic, black pepper, rosemary and thyme. Mine had one eggplant (well, what was still edible of my eggplant), one zucchini,  two yellow squash, four small red peppers, two or three small green peppers, a tomato or two, and approximately one yellow onion. I loosely followed this recipe, but borrowed some ideas from this recipe as well (mostly, the taking of the liquid from the main pot and boiling it down in a separate pot, to concentrate the flavor without overcooking the vegetables). I unfortunately did overcook mine a bit, because I hadn’t cooked the squash for long enough on their own, but it was still delicious, just a bit mushy and indistinct and not terribly photogenic. I also confess that I probably added way more olive oil than is reasonable, because I tend to be a bit heavy handed with olive oil. It doesn’t help that my cast iron pan really needs re-seasoning.

A few days ago, my friend Amrita sent me an email with a link of simple, healthy breakfast ideas. I hadn’t had breakfast yet and I’d been wanting to bake for a while, so I made the Scottish Oat Scones pretty much immediately. I forgot to actually mix the dry ingredients before I added the wet ingredients, so there was something very slightly unbalanced about them, but they were still pretty good! I might make these again. I’d be inclined to make multiple smaller ones though, instead of just one big large one, and I’m tempted to see what would happen if I let the oats soak in the wet ingredients before adding in the other dry ingredients. I love oatmeal though, so these were guaranteed to be at least a moderate success. They tasted best with my strawberry jam, but were okay with my peach butter. A cup of tea on the side is almost mandatory.

And back on the theme of staying healthy, I’ve started working out, sort of. I generally try to stay mindful of keeping active, and will do little things like trying to take the stairs most of the time (I live on the sixth floor of my apartment building) or walking home from school when the weather’s nice (1.8miles). Although I’ve been fire spinning again and I have a ballroom class once a week,  I’m still a lot more sedentary than I’m used to because I spend a lot of my day sitting in front of my computer and watching lectures and reading notes. So I’ve started the One Hundred Push Ups workout (I’m doing knee push-ups), and I’m also doing Two Hundred Sit Ups. I like them because they’re really minimal and simple programs. I don’t like exercising just to exercise, but I’m finding that I almost enjoy this. Almost. I at least don’t mind it. And aside from missing two workouts last week due to my second older brother’s wedding (which was wonderful!), I’ve been really good about keeping up with it. I’m not sure what I’ll do once I’m done, or if I’ll do anything else, but it’s been nice so far. I definitely am noticing more muscle, which is strange and unexpected, but really nifty.  I had wanted to do their Squats program too, but my knees have always been a little odd and they creak in a way that bothers me when I do squats and lunges. I’m not sure if it’s actually bad for my knees, but I’m going to respect their apparent desire to be left alone.

I’m really looking forward to being done with all this sitting. I like being on my feet, as long as I’m walking around (standing still = lower back pain), so I can’t wait to be in the hospital doing rotations.

Written by Aba

October 12, 2010 at 12:13 am

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Your Doctor Doesn't Know Everything

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One thing I keep noticing in medical school, is that there is a lot that we aren’t explicitly taught. Yes this is obvious, but… there’s a lot I was expecting to be addressed that I’m realizing is nowhere in the curriculum (at least, not through till second year). There is a lot more that we will learn during third and fourth year, information that can’t/shouldn’t/simply isn’t taught through lectures and textbooks, and that will likely cover some of what I’m noticing is missing. Internship and residencies will take care of yet more information. And once we are properly out in the working medical world, we will still keep learning, because there is always more to know.

But there’s a lot that I think people assume doctors know, that we really don’t. Little gaps that you might think, “Well, she’s a doctor! Of course she knows the answer to this question!” No. Don’t assume that. Not unless the question is, “Is it okay if I take my aspirin and ibuprofen together?” or “What are the major side effects of this drug?”  Questions like, “Do I really need to drink eight glasses of water a day?” or “Is high fructose corn syrup actually bad for me or is it okay like those commercials say it is?” Those are questions that some of us may be willing to answer, but I can’t guarantee that our answers will be right, because we don’t have much more information than you on these topics. A registered dietitian knows much more about food than we do. A physical or occupational therapist knows a lot more about how your body moves and should move and what you need to do to get it optimally functional.

And even in the realm of information that we probably should know, there’s a chance we weren’t taught it. That we never came across a patient with your problem before so even though it exists, we’ve never heard about it or read about it before and can’t immediately help you.  We want to help you, but maybe you’ll just have to be that first patient who inspires us to look a little deeper. Or maybe we’ll fail you and decide it’s all in your head or nothing to worry about and never think about your problem again.

I’ve been coming across this a lot as a medical student. My knowledge is very textbook so when people ask me more practical questions, Do you think this cut will need stitches? Should we ice this bruise?, I’m answering from a similar knowledge base to what they already have. Or I’m using the same resources (the internet!) to find out the answer. I admit I’m more driven to find out the answers now, so if someone asks me something I don’t know, I’m more likely to research it than to say “I don’t know” and leave it at that.

But the answer is always going to be “I don’t know” to some of these doctor-type questions, because I can’t know it all. And neither does your doctor. Trust us, and still ask us, because we do (I say we like I count, but I don’t just yet) have a wide knowledge base to draw from and we might be better able to find the answer. And I think it’s best to trust a doctor who occasionally says, “I’m not sure but I’ll look into it” than doctors who give half answers that show they’re just guessing and they’re not going to bother looking into it later. I’ve had those doctors before, as a patient, and yeah, they’re annoying.

Written by Aba

October 5, 2010 at 1:01 pm

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